- Thread starter
- Jan 17, 2021
- Reaction score
- Northern Ontario, Canada
Yes, I totally agree @Zeedman . I also look at it from a dollars and cents point of view really, in that in these last couple years I've put out some dough on seeds, and I'd rather not buy more than one packet of the same thing if I can help it. It all adds up and is a waste of good coin when I can buy other varieties and try to keep them going and spread around too, instead of wasted doubles. Every double packet bought is a lost opportunity to me.The problem is that when something gets renamed, then there are 2 (or more) identical strains with different names. Eventually the history gets lost - which may include the relevant original provenance. (See @Bluejay77 's bean query today for how that could become an issue). Granted, the separate lines may diverge at some point... but for preservation purposes, having multiple apparently-identical strains floating around with no history eventually becomes problematic. So @Bluejay77 might end up saving 3-4 beans under different names instead of one. It's bad enough when beans cross national boundaries, being given a different name in each language. (such as Meraviglia di Venezia, and Marvel of Venice.)
Admittedly, many seed savers (including myself) are at some point guilty of naming something acquired with no name. Which doesn't mean that it didn't have one - given by someone elsewhere - which could crop up later (like in a goose, pun intended ). I had to name the cowpea sent to me by @Bluejay77 , because while I suspect that I know that it is, the history was lost, and I can't take a chance on being wrong. Two different varieties with the same name is a major problem, especially if what you receive ends up not being what you expected... and reading descriptions of varieties listed in SSE offered by multiple people, I frequently see evidence of this.
That said, I do think that there are times when giving a name to something, or even renaming, can be a help to a variety. Someone who bred a lettuce called 'Brown Goldring' (this was years ago so I'm foggy on the details) but the first thing in the blurb stated 'too bad about the name' because the public had not shown much interest in a lettuce with a name like that. It does sound icky! And the varietal names like XPL3986-01 - no one will remember that. People like charming, evocative and that just don't have it. I was going over a new pepper site last night and they have hundreds of peppers, several of the names beginning with APS and then some abstract tacked on. I skipped over every single one of those peppers. I'd rather go with the 'Aji Mango' or 'Aji Strawberry Drop' that they had listed. They are naming some of their own crosses, and without much imagination. I don't consider those peppers to have much chance at a future. Few people want to grow NVR 645643; the collectors might, but varieties tend to survive over time by being grown widely, not by a select group.
I actually may be in a little pickle about a certain bean I'm growing in 2023. I plan to list with SoDC, and the name of this bean is NOT going to go over well with the folks over there. I will absolutely not be able to list the bean under it's proper name because no doubt I'll get some blowback which I'd rather avoid, the feminist battalions in particular. I have no intention to rename it, but I may give it a different spelling, like 'Sloot'. Yes, this is problematic, but less problematic than a dozen *heartfelt* e-mails to me by the self anointed. A seed saving friend of mine had her life threatened because someone took issue about a variety on her website - I mean, clown world. She had to go to the police, and she is elderly. But I think IMHO there are times and circumstances where a name alteration is logical or appropriate. Saving your keister for instance.
Most gardeners are not into all the details of historicity etc. they just wanna grow good food or nice things. I know some elderly gardeners who mostly grow things in their garden year after year by the picture on the packet at the store, and maybe one key word in there somewhere. They might get given a seed from a friend, or neighbor, grow it and never know the name until some else asks them for some seeds. That person asks, what are these tomatoes called? And the person doesn't know, they didn't care about a name, just a good tomato, so they say my friend Frank gave it to me. So that person calls it 'Frank's Tomato'. It might be Gardener's Delight or Sweet Million but now it's 'Frank's Tomato'. lol